IHS/Markit has published its monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing. This is a measure of business activity which leads official government statistics on the economy. The survey takes data on economic activity straight from businesses,
distilling it to a single score between 0 and 100. Anything over 50 = economic expansion; anything under 50 = contraction. The PMI for UK manufacturing in December 2018 rose to 54.2, up from 53.6 in November, beating the forecasts of most economic commentators. The UK’s PMI was significantly higher than those in Europe for the second consecutive month, which averaged 51.4. Only Ireland at 54.5 and the Netherlands at 57.2 have faster-expanding manufacturing sectors than the UK.